Welcome to our sector’s biggest virtual conference

Andrew Milner

Alliance goes behind the screens at the AVPN annual event and discovers an extraordinary team effort

‘We must have been crazy’ – that was the verdict of AVPN’s Naina Subberwal Batra on the decision to make this year’s conference an entirely online event. The challenges were formidable – converting what is in any case a logistically daunting event from a face-to-face to a virtual conference, learning a technology package from scratch and reaching out to an eventual audience of over 7,000 people in the space of a couple of months would make anyone think twice. So how did AVPN do it and what does their experience tell others?

When it started to become clear that the face-to-face event might fall victim to the Covid-19 pandemic, AVPN made contingency plans for both a live and a virtual event. Then, in mid-March, it was decided to hold the conference online. Making the decision actually took some of the pressure off, recalls Janice Zhang, AVPN’s events manger. ‘Before that, we were planning for two different scenarios, an in-person and a virtual conference,’ she says, ‘so when the government announced restrictions on the number of people who could get together, it was in some ways a relief. We could focus on one scenario.’

Alfred Poon: ‘Every person of AVPN team was involved.’

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